Potent offenses and poor defenses will match up on both sides of tonight's BYU-San Francisco game, giving college basketball bettors a lot of reasons to play the 'over' in the conference rivalry.
A big Thursday college basketball betting slate leaves many questions to be answered, such as can top-ranked Kentucky win at Missouri to stay unbeaten and will Maryland keep pressure on Wisconsin in the Big Ten race with a road win at Ohio State?
Another big question is just how high will the oddsmakers set the total for the West Coast Conference battle in Provo where the Brigham Young Cougars welcome the San Francisco Dons to town? The 11 PM matchup on ESPNU saw the Cougars go out -13 before being pumped up a half very quickly.
The total has not been released yet, but SBR's live NCAA basketball odds will have it as soon as it does come out.
Cougs Blister Dons In Season's 1st Meeting
Until the official total is known, we can at least speculate what that number might be since this is a rematch of a January 3 contest that took place in Golden Gate City. The Cougars seemingly couldn't miss that evening as they shot a season-high 60% from the field, outscoring the Dons 45-21 from beyond the 3-point line in the 99-68 triumph.
The contest easily sailed past a 151½ point total, beating it by more than 16 points and with seven minutes to go on the clock. It was BYU's fourth straight win in the series, and sixth 'over' winner in eight games the Cougars and Dons have played as conference foes.
In the first meeting a season ago, BYU and San Francisco just made it past a 157 point total on San Fran's floor, and NCAA basketball odds makers overcorrected the scoreboard tally by hanging 167 for the second game in Provo. The Cougars scratched out a 68-63 win as 11½ point favorites, the final never even sniffing the total; the only two 'under' winners in this series since BYU joined the WCC before the 2011-12 campaign occurred at Marriott Center.
Dons Spending Week On West Coast Highway
That loss to BYU earlier this month was part of a 4-game losing streak for San Francisco (9-12 straight up, 7-11 against the spread), three of those contests coming against the cream of the conference -- Gonzaga, BYU and Saint Mary's. Rex Walters' club does rank in the top third of the country averaging more than 71 points per game, but has yet to find any defensive answers in conference play with WCC opponents scoring more than 73 a night on 48% shooting from the field.
The charity stripe is another big problem the Dons have endured this season, San Francisco sitting fifth from the bottom of that list making 60.5% of its free throws. The Dons left 11 points on the line in last Saturday's upset loss at home to Loyola Marymount, blowing a 17 point lead early in the second half to a Lions club they were expected to beat by 9.
BYU Drags 2-Game Skid Back To Provo
This will be the first home game for Brigham Young (15-7 SU, 8-13 ATS) in nearly three weeks, and head coach Dave Rose is eager to see his team quickly put the recent road trip behind them. The journey began with a win at cover at Pacific before the Cougars were held under 80 points in each loss at Saint Mary's and San Diego, failing to cover either.
They had been on a pretty good roll offensively heading into those matchups with the Gaels and Toreros, and the Cougars still sit atop the nation putting up 86 a game. The bombs didn't fall for BYU in San Diego, however, and like the Dons, Rose's crew has struggled to keep their conference opponents off the board, allowing more than 74 PPG in WCC action.
That lack of defense on both sides has led to a combined 11-5 O/U record in West Coast contests, on top of the easy 'over' the Dons and Cougars played in their first meeting. Every trend in the book says to play 'over' this time for your NCAA Basketball picks, and my guess is that hurdle will be set in the 151-153 range, possibly higher. Depending where the number lands, I like the high side to prevail once again.
NBA Pick: Take the Over at 5Dimes
Season: 31-31 (-3.1)